Can some people from non-target schools share their experiences?

jajajaja's picture
Rank: Senior Chimp | 26

I'm a junior at a non-target school and I landed an IB internship at a boutique in Atlanta. I want to end up in NY as a full-time analyst at a BB, but I've been talking to some professionals and they've said that most firms hire all their incoming analysts from their summer analyst pool.

If this is the case, what's my next step? I'm thinking my next steps are either aim for a full-time at my boutique in Atlanta or go shoot for a MSF at a target school.

Comments (30)

Mar 29, 2016

I never wanted to go into IB so my advice is more general:

If possible, leverage your network to the greatest extent possible: you aren't guaranteed to get a role but can usually at least get an interview if the person referring you is in some sort of management role.

If that's not possible, I'm inclined to say that you should favor getting right to work over the MSF you'll get coming from non-target undergrad. If you work at a boutique this summer it shouldn't be unheard of to target either a boutique in NY or a MM anywhere for full-time recruiting. You can then use the time you would have spent working on the MSF to gain work experience so you can apply through experienced hire channels at a BB. I've found that experienced hire channels were much more lenient with my non-traditional background in a way that I'm not sure campus hire recruiting would be with a target MSF and non-target undergrad.

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Mar 29, 2016

Thank you for the reply! I appreciate it.

I agree with the points you brought up. I didn't really consider using my experience as a stepping stone (ATL Boutique >> NY Boutique / MM >> NY BB) and I've been thinking of leap frogging the whole time (ATL boutique >> NY BB)

Even then though for NY Boutiques, I've found that I don't really have a foot in the door. It's pretty damn tough to get an interview when they don't recruit at my university.

Mar 29, 2016

They should have the job reqs on their websites and you can apply there, I don't think your chances are as grim for NY boutique as you think. You'd be applying to go from boutique to boutique in another market AND have intern experience. It would be a logical move. Someone who interned at a BB/MM and is applying to boutiques in the same market clearly didn't get an offer and is making a less logical move (which you can probably infer certain things from as a resume reviewer). Then there's the population which did not have an internship or had one in something that is totally unrelated. The full time applicant pool for a boutique bank (especially if recruiting locally) is going to be very different from the larger ones.

Mar 30, 2016

Was your non-target in Georgia? Or do you come from another area?

Mar 30, 2016

It's from Georgia. It's the best public school in GA (wink) and is ranked in the single digits, but it's primarily an engineering school.

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Mar 30, 2016

What you've heard is correct. I do not mean to discourage you, but BB FT recruiting has gotten to the point where it is almost impossible to land a spot. Most of the FT class is filled with SAs. The few spots left over are usually filled with SAs from other BBs. It's not the end of the world if you want to work at a BB, however.

If you get a return offer from your boutique, accept it. Maybe you will enjoy the work there and want to stay, maybe not. If you decide to lateral, the process is relatively easy (I posted a guide to lateraling...just Google "Sil lateraling guide"). I would not get an MSF if you have the option to start working in IB.

Hopefully that helps. I went to a non-target, started an a "no-name" boutique, and then lateraled to a MM. Good luck.

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Mar 30, 2016

SIl, I read your lateraling guide. Cool stuff!

I think the main issue is even getting the job interview without knowing someone inside, but I would imagine it might be a hair easier if I have deal experience.

One thing I wanted to ask you: how do you think the competitiveness of top MM boutiques compare to BB? I've heard that its essentially comparable.

Mar 30, 2016

A place like GS/MS will always be more competitive than a place like Baird/Blair simply because you have more applicants, many of whom have high pedigrees. For lateral recruiting, it is about the same, but the overall process is easier because instead of competing against 1,000 candidates for a first-round interview, you will probably be competing against 20 or so.

Mar 30, 2016

pro's of my non-target... good school, probably a top 50
-saved my family A LOT of money, stayed in-state. if you dont know what you want to do (i repeat this sentiment a few times in this post) and plan to major in history/philosophy/etc don't waste your family's money on private school
-was able to get into the business school with my mediocre gpa (i waltz through high school withouth ever learning how to actually study)
-stress/competition wasn't that high, less pressure, which is healthy for teenagers who don't know what exactly they want to do with their lives
-the college town is known as being one of the most appealing places to live in the country (it's always on one of those lists of places to move to bla bla), so a lot of high-quality professors moved there for the quality of life and to raise their families. on a side note, i remember my finance professor always ranting about how much better this was then f*&%ing Manhattan and couldn't believe his friends were still in that grind

negatives
-ocr was shit, depressing ("i dont want to work for fucking Target"), i didnt care though as i didnt know what I wanted to do anyways, what 21 y/o really does?
-low on the prestige meter, but idgaf
-looking at stats of entry level salaries from graduates was pretty sad, this was awhile ago but i think the range was around 30k/year
-alumni network only strong in the metropolitan area nearby (2 hrs)

All in all, no regrets, it taught me that in life nothing is handed to you, you have to go get it. After graduation I traveled and took specific classes in a trade school and later a 1 year grad program that actually made me competitive candidate for a job, when I was actually ready for it

What is the answer to 99 out of 100 questions?

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Mar 30, 2016

Have you been in touch with anyone at a BB yet? Without a network at the banks you are looking to move to it will be very difficult. If you have made a connection with anyone at one of these banks, make sure to stay in touch over the summer. FT recruiting will begin just as your summer internship is ending. From those I talked to, a group will do FT hiring only if they didn't have enough competent interns over the summer, so which groups will have spots available is tough to know ahead of time. But, having contacts at a bank who will vouch for you can push your name for their group if spots open up or introduce you to people in other groups where there is a spot.

If you don't currently have contacts at a BB, you need to try to make them if this your goal for your first job after graduation. Your best bet may be to reach out to people at your target banks who are in whatever group you are in at the boutique, or whatever industry it is you cover. Convey how you've been enjoying the industry or product but feel your could be better at their bank for whatever reason, and would really appreciate a 20 minute call with them about their experience. Or find people who made a similar move as you did and try to get them on the phone for advice to how they did it. Also, if you get very close with someone at your bank who may have connections up in NY, you could express interest in the move to them, but this is a tricky ask and is not something you should do unless you have a very good relationship with this person that feels like this would be okay.

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Mar 30, 2016

I have been, but I definitely do not have a connection at every single BB and I want to ideally be considered by a nice chunk of them.
I have several contacts in the finance industry who are working in RE, Oil, etc.

When I am talking to my first-hand contacts, how appropriate is it to keep asking for another name?

Mar 30, 2016

Well that's definitely a good start. If you have a good conversation with an analyst/associate you can find a way to politely ask if they know of anyone else who may be willing to speak with you so you can get continue to learn more about the firm/group/etc at the end of the call. This always worked for me and I think people were willing to do so because they knew I came from a non-target and had nobody from my school who I could contact.

It's good that you have connections at multiple banks, but I'd also stress the importance of the quality of the relationship. If you only know 2 people at a bank, one of which who really likes you, your better off than having talked to 10 people who all think you were just a good candidate. I was at a BB during my SA, so it's a bit different than your situation, but I could have moved to different banks for FT. All of these opportunities were either from connections I made during SA recruiting where I made a really strong impression on at least 1 person who was willing to go to bat for me and others who I had spoken to thought I was a good candidate at the same bank, or through people I impressed during my internship who offered to put in a good word with bankers they knew at other places if they interested me more.

I'm racing through this so if there's wording/grammar issues in here that make it unclear just let me know and I will clarify when I can.

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Mar 30, 2016

Yeah I'm definitely going on that track. I think in a few months is a good time to really go through my network list exhaustively again and ask every single person for a reference. I've been calling them now to kind of tell them about my situation and plant the seeds. As far as close personal contacts, I don't have too many at top BBs. My school is ranked #1 for engineering so most of our alumni are successful engineers. Successful financiers take up a tiny tiny portion.

Do you think most working professionals are just open to sharing their contacts and helping out a stranger? As in, if I have my personal buddy A gives me Contact B who gives me Contact C, do you think Contact C would just be open to helping me out even if I was introduced through Contact B? I myself have always been open to networking and helping others, but I'm not sure if this is always the case.

Mar 30, 2016

Shop your resume out to BBs and MMs. Skip HR (read: gatekeepers) and reach out directly to bankers (2nd year associate and up).

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Mar 30, 2016

I'm a graduating senior at a non-target school. No previous IB experience - interned in PWM last summer. I hadn't decided I wanted to do IB until the end of that summer (going into senior year... The odds were not in my favor) I networked like crazy and was able to land interviews with almost every bank I was interested in working for. Ended up with 2 FT offers - 1 MM 1 BB. My advice is to realize you are in a solid position right now. If you don't want to stay after the summer, then network and leverage your way into another FT offer. Going for a MSF could be a backup plan for someone late to the recruiting game, but that does not sound like your situation. Getting work experience at a MM would be 10x better, and you could then lateral if you still desired to work at a BB.

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Mar 30, 2016

This gives me alot of hope! Could you go into more detail about your networking strategy?

I've been networking like crazy recently, but I'm sure I can improve on what I'm doing.

Best Response
Mar 30, 2016

I was from a non-target and went through the whole process. Bottom line is that you will have a difficult time landing a FT @ a BB given that most FTs are selected from their SA class. There is some turnover among the SA class at each BB's IBD group but most of those spots are filled from other NYC BB interns. During my time in NY as a SA, I can tell you that there are several networking events hosted by BB and EB for interns who may want to shop offers. Some of my friends attended them and eventually declined their FT offer to join a different bank.

In sum, you have 1) geographical disadvantage, 2) non-target (unless you have awesome alumns, and 3) you are at a boutique. Despite the uphill battle, I'm a firm believer that as long as you put in the work and have a little bit of luck, you should be able to accomplish your goals. During your summer sint, I'd suggest that you do a great job to get a full time offer from that bank. at the same time, network as best as you can. If you even have free time, maybe fly out to NYC to attend bank-hosted networking events.

Another option, and one that I personally experience is to do the following. Secure a full time offer somewhere first. Then technically extend your graduation so you are still considered a "junior" and eligible to apply for BB SA gigs. If you secure a BB SA gig, then go back to your full time offer and re-neg. Delay graduation by a semester but do not register for any classes. Do your summer gig at the BB, kill it and get full time offer. Negotiate start date and boom. You go a BB IBD gig but at the cost of delaying your fulltime employment by 6-12 months potentially. Risk is that you would have burned a bridge by re-negging, you might not even be able to land a full time gig after doing a SA gig at a BB.

Pick your poison. Hope this is helpful to some degree... good luck...

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Mar 30, 2016

I feel like delaying graduation by banking everything on getting that job as a "junior" is so risky. I'd rather just accept a full-time at my boutique (if I get an offer after this summer that is) and use that experience to lateral my way up.

I considered what you said to use me being a "junior" as an exploit to get into the program, but those companies don't recruit at my school anyways. Getting into the internship is just as hard as getting into the full-time for me.

Mar 30, 2016

middle + back office work at bulge bracket banks > IBD (ECM and M&A) at boutiques > corporate private equity at a billion dollar single family office. not the usual track but who cares. lol.

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Mar 30, 2016

Focus on getting a FT offer from the boutique and then market yourself to other banks in an effort to trade-up during FT recruiting in the Fall. This line is very common. If that doesn't yield the desired result, then I suggest accepting the FT offer, learn the ropes and then look to lateral as a 2nd / 3rd year analyst. This strategy is also reasonably common.

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Mar 30, 2016

I come from a non-target large state school. Got some really good boutique M&A internships my sophomore spring semester and summer that put me in a good spot for SA recruiting this year. Unfortunately, I struck out at most of the MM banks. Got a couple offers from a few boutiques and an offer from a very well-respected ER shop. Decided to take the ER offer and hopefully leverage that industry experience into full time recruiting for IB or possibly just stay in ER for a couple of years. It really goes to show that there is no linear path, surround yourself with the right network and individuals and you will be all good my friend. Best of luck! Don't stop hustling.

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Apr 2, 2016

I am in the same situation as you were: non-target large state school. I got a good M&A boutique SA junior year, but will not be going there for FT. Were you able to transition into IB or still doing ER?

Mar 31, 2016

I came from a non-target right up the road from where I am guessing you went to school. If you go where I think you do, than our schools play each other in football. It was a similar situation for me--Southern non-target mostly well known for their engineering program (still not as good as yours). Anyways, I figured it out and took a position at an IB in New York.

I think bottom line is that you have to differentiate yourself. For me, that meant getting a Masters degree in Econ by taking 800 level courses as an undergrad and dual crediting them (so that I could still graduate early). Additionally, I took a position as a graduate research assistant, published a bunch of papers, wrote two theses, learned how to code, took Coursera courses, etc. Every day I tried to make myself unique and intelligent by developing critical thinking skills, reading interesting literature, developing skills in hard sciences such as physics, and having normal hobbies such as sports. When I interviewed, this definitely paid off.

However, I did not have IB internship experience. I had graduate research and commercial banking experience, but nothing close to IB. You do, so make sure you leverage it but make yourself unique. Firms in New York will see plenty of students apply for positions with investment banking internship experience. Make your story interesting enough that the interviewer will want you on his team. Also, connections can really be the game changer. If you can find a guy who is willing to help you out, use him. That's my two cents in addition to everything else that was said above.

Mar 30, 2016

I'm an IB associate at a BB. Came from a "lesser" school in Atlanta -- DM me.

Mar 30, 2016

Im from a non target liberal arts. Last time someone from my school got into BB IBD was 4 years ago. I would say networking is your best friend. I did an sophomore IBD SA at a boutique in a city with similar size to Atlanta. Got it through networking with alumni who is an MD there. Leveraged that experience in cold call/email BB in junior year fall. Built pretty close connections with VP/Analysts at several BB. Got into super days at both GS/MS and landed an offer from one of them. Not sure how that would help but bottom line is IBD experience always helps at FT recruiting. I've seen people without any IBD experience coming into FT recruiting and landed BB offer. So you should be fine. If can't get a BB offer try boutique in NYC. Remember you can lateral after 1-2 years. Good luck!

Mar 31, 2016
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Mar 31, 2016